If you’re a frequent traveler, you may be wondering if your life insurance will still pay out if you die while traveling abroad. The answer is complex and depends entirely on the terms of your life insurance policy. Here’s what you need to know about traveling abroad and how that affects your life insurance coverage.
Read the fine print
Every insurance policy is different when it comes to their coverage, and it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before traveling overseas, you should always read the fine print on your life insurance policy. In most cases, if you have had the insurance policy in place for at least two years, you should be covered. However, there are many factors that could potentially nullify your coverage.
Your destination matters
Whether or not your insurance will pay out is often dependent on where you are traveling. Many countries are considered to be safe for travel, in which case you can visit them freely without changes to your coverage. However, some countries are considered underdeveloped, which could pose potential health risks to travelers, or dangerous due to political unrest. If you are traveling to a country that is considered to be underdeveloped or dangerous by your insurance company, you could lose your coverage. Depending on the country, they may not provide any coverage, or they may only provide limited coverage.
What you are doing while you are traveling is also important to take into consideration. If you are just on a business trip attending meetings, that’s not going to be considered very risky by the insurance company. However, if you are planning on going skydiving, rock climbing, or doing something else that’s physically risky, your insurance company may ultimately decide not to pay out the claim. Insurance companies could also opt to charge you higher premiums if you frequently engage in high-risk athletic activities.
Long trips and frequent travel
If you’re going to be traveling for an extended period of time, it’s very important that you talk to your insurance company first to make sure you are still covered. There is a chance that they will nullify your coverage after a certain amount of time away from the country. Typically after six months away from the US, they will consider you a non-US resident, which could nullify your coverage until you return to the states. However, if you talk to your insurance provider before going on your trip, they may be able to work with you to make the arrangements you need. You can even get coverage if you are planning on moving out of the US, but the insurance company will need to look into where you are moving and what the conditions are like there.
You should talk to your insurance company if you are going to be traveling frequently, even just for short trips. Many insurance companies consider traveling frequently to be a mild health risk, and this can factor into your coverage. Again, the best solution is always to contact your insurance company. While it may result in slightly higher premiums now, it ensures that you will be covered in the future when you need it most.
Foreign death claims
If you die while abroad, it can be tricky for your beneficiaries to claim your insurance payout. In order for them to receive the money, they will need to file a foreign death claim and provide proof that you are deceased. Not all countries record deaths the same way that we do here in the US, which can make them much more difficult to prove. If you are the beneficiary of someone who has died overseas, you’ll need to acquire as much proof as possible that the policyholder did, in fact, pass away. The insurance companies are very strict about this to prevent insurance fraud from false death claims. Reaching out to the US Embassy in the country where they were traveling may be helpful if you are struggling to navigate any confusing government regulations. You may also want to consider working with a lawyer if you are having trouble accessing the money you feel you are entitled to.
Make sure you’re covered
The bottom line is, if you travel abroad frequently, you should look for insurance that will specifically cover you in the event of an overseas death. When shopping for a policy, talk to your insurance agent and they can help you find an option that is specifically intended for those who travel frequently. You can purchase a policy either overseas or domestically, and either could be less expensive. If you are traveling to a country that is considered particularly dangerous, you may need to invest in a high-risk policy specifically for that trip. Yes, it will cost more upfront, but you will have peace of mind knowing that you are covered no matter what happens.